tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 12, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST
drama as it unfolds on capitol hill. house speaker john boehner moments ago seeing serious differences still exist between house republicans and the president when it comes to the debt talks. >> presidents get elected to lead. the president talked about a balanced approach. we've brought a balanced approach. but i've said this and you've all heard me say it and i will say it one more time. we are going to begin to solve our debt problem. >> so describing the situation as one step forward, two steps back. today boehner said tuesday's phone call with the president was open and honest. however, that call only lasted 15 minutes, something the speaker himself this morning called deliberate, one of the steps back. yesterday's dueling counteroffers which got the president and congress nowhere closer to a deal. 20 days, that's it from the brink and the fiscal cliff is coming quickly at us. it's doing definite damage to boehner's brand. a new "washington post"/abc poll showing voters overwhelmingly disapprove of boehner's handling
of the fiscal talks. it's an even split on the president. who is still sticking to his guns, urging the gop to pass tax cuts for the middle class by christmas? >> taxes are going to go up one way or the other. i think the key is to make sure that taxes go up on high end individuals like you and me. we can afford it. it is entirely possible for us to come up with a deal but time is running short. >> right to work is wrong! our other story developing in michigan today, where labor unions are considering a large scale counter offensive. the home of the uaw is now the first blue right to work state after a pair of bills were signed into law by governor rick snyder who appeared on msnbc's "morning joe" today. >> i believe this is pro-worker. because the way i view it is workers now have freedom to choose. this does not deal with organizing at all. this does not deal with collective bargaining at all. this has nothing to do with the relationship between an employer and a union. this is about the relationship
between unions and workers. >> let's dig in right now. >> good ideas get debated and bad ones get rammed through with police protection in a lame duck legislature. but i will say this, mr. speaker. this fight is not over. >> we are going to get to michigan in a moment. first we want to bring in today's political power panel and dig in on the big topics of the day. msnbc contributor joy ann reid, also managing editor for the grio. msnbc contributor ari melber, correspondent for the nation and republican strategist alice stewart. great to see all three of you. joy ann, moments ago, boehner saying the sides are far apart. the cliff 20 days away. the posturing continues with the presidential politics and the president saying this is going to happen. so why can't these two men meet in the middle? >> it's interesting, because you're hearing in the public pronouncements almost no movement. the president reportedly lowered his target on tax, you know, revenue from 1.6 to 1.4.
boehner stayed exactly the same, 800 billion. they are differing on how to get there. they are still saying the same things they have always been saying but then you have other reports in the "wall street journal" and bloomberg that behind the scenes the staffs are talking real numbers and there's real progress so it's hard to know if it's all public posturing and they actually do have the nuggets of a deal. it's really hard to tell. one thing is for certain, somebody's taxes are going up at the end of this year. just a question of whether it will be everybody or the top 2%. >> we know the biggest problem still exists being the bush era tax cuts. seems that the republicans still hold out hope to be able to protect the top earners in this country, majority leader eric cantor hit the president over taxes in the last hour. want to play that for everybody. >> the president has said on a daily basis that we should be passing a balanced plan. but what we hear from the president is continuing only discussion on one side of the ledger. it has always been about tax
rate increases and nothing about spending. >> talking about a balanced plan here, eric cantor slamming the president, when the president came back the new white house counteroffer revenue from $1.6 trillion to $1.4 trillion, the gop saying that they want the spending cuts in addition to the taxes but the problem is the taxes, period. is there any way for the white house to make the talk about an increase palatable so that the right looks like they're moving forward, so john boehner looks like he's moving up from his number? >> well, the only way they make that look palatable is if they actually put some serious spending cuts on the table. what we saw yesterday was fancy accounting by washington officials. we don't have serious spending cuts. even for argument's sake, if we gave the president all of the tax increases that he wanted, putting that all out there, we're still looking at a trillion dollar deficit each year. we have to have serious spending cuts and that has to go hand in hand if he wants to look at there are other ways to put
revenues on the table, capping deductions, closing loopholes. those are ways we can put revenue on the table but we have to have, as they said all along, a balanced approach. i'm with joy, i hope there's more progress going on behind the scenes than publicly, because we need to get this resolved. >> ari, the white house also reportedly threw in these spending cuts from $400 billion to $600 billion. also just as well as this promise to achieve corporate tax reform. i want to give everybody the speaker's response yesterday and then press secretary jake carney's responsibe. >> where are the president's spending cuts? the longer the white house slow walks the process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff. >> if there is one fact that should not be in dispute, it ought to be this. the president, unlike any other party to these negotiations, has put forward detailed spending cuts as well as detailed revenue proposals. >> ari, the president saying
he's willing to make the tough decisions on the spending cuts if the republicans acquiesce on tax hikes. meanwhile, republicans say i need to see the spending cuts first, show me yours first, before i give you anything on the tax hike. it's this game of who's going to blink first. but it really doesn't benefit john boehner to continue this, as we see the public opinion and his brand is really taking a hit on this. >> i think so. we've seen this movie before. there's a lot of enthusiasm for vague cuts but when you have to actually decide what gets cut, even republicans blanch. the bloomberg poll out today shows 50% of republicans think that it's time to raise the taxes on the top 2% because the president has a mandate. that's just republicans. the majorities get even higher among the rest of the country which did just, of course, re-elect president obama on this plan. the talk about corporate taxes is fine but it's only a dime out of every federal dollar that we get out of corporate taxes. you're not going to make it all up there. you're not going to make it all up in sort of destroying entitlement programs which also
are very popular. so the republicans have a losing hand on public opinion over the long term, the question is do they think they can get through a hostage crisis, a sequel to the hostage crisis we already had, something that they didn't get last time. i think ultimately the answer is going to be no. >> as we count down 20 days, the republicans losing their leverage as we get closer and closer, if we think about this in the new year as just a clean slate for everybody, and then we don't have to think about the debt ceiling which is coming up fast down the line anyway in the new year, isn't that a potentially better approach to go clean slate 2013? >> you know what, i have been thinking, thomas, just in the last few days about this. should this congress even make a big deal? the new congress that was elected by the american people with barack obama probably is the one that should make the larger grand deal. what they need to do is get through the end of the year. i agree with ari, a clean slate would be great but i really don't see what the republicans'
play is. spending cuts aren't popular either. do they think they're going to improve their brand by saying we're going to cut school lunches and the post office? do they think that will make it better for them? they would be best off just going ahead and taking the tax deal now and why they won't do that literally baffles me. >> both teams look like they're running down the clock. that's all they can agree on right now. joy-ann, ari, alice, my thanks to all three of you. appreciate your time. we will talk to somebody now who really knows what it's like to be in house speaker john boehner's shoes. i'm joined by former house speaker dennis hastert. sir, great to have you here. i want to start with this tense phone call we have been reporting on between the president and speaker boehner. you were able to sit down and get things done with bill clinton, who at the time was negotiating with a congress that impeached him. in your estimation, why does it seem so hard for these two modern day men to get around the same table? >> i'm not going to impugn anybody on this thing. everybody's got their problems. but i think where we're at right
now, boehner's got a big load to carry, not only has to deal with the president, actually get something done, he's got to make sure that his constituency or basically the members of the house are happy about it. i would guess, i don't know what the inside deals are, i would guess right now that boehner's probably getting less from the president than he did this summer. it's not going to sell well, probably, with his conference. i mean, he's got a real hard -- there's always something called palace politics and political revolution, and you know, that's something he has to deal with. >> as we know, the stumbling block continues to be the bush era tax cuts that you and president george w. bush implemented. do you agree after two unfunded wars, the economy in recovery after wall street put it in the tank, that it's now time for taxes to go back up to the clinton era rates? can republicans at least give in on that? >> well, look, when you look at
where the top area is, there are people earning $250,000, most of those people that are doing it, if you look at that, they're subchapter s or llcs, they're small business people. those are exactly the people who take that money and put it back in their business. they don't put it in their pocket. they buy a pickup truck or buy a computer and hire somebody to work on it. so in my district, 80% of the jobs came from those types of businesses. so i think it's ill for everybody to try to raise that, especially on that level. if we're going to have tax reform, we really ought to do it by expanding the base and that can happen, and you can do it by capping entitlements or cap or spread the base out. it can be done. we also have $26 trillion of foreign capital, of our capital, that's trapped overseas. you can bring that back home. half of that would make this economy spin again. >> talking about the tax rates,
didn't the clinton era economy differ some of the best numbers we had seen as a country on wall street as individuals that we're all watching our 401(k)s, also delivered to you when you came in to take over your speakership, a surplus budget that then went away under the bush years. >> well, we didn't have a surplus budget until i became speaker. one of the reasons we did, we stuck to the spending levels. i remember negotiating with clinton, funny, the first time we had a budget, he happened to be in a limousine in turkey. i had to call him at 2:00 in the morning to get him in the morning. this back and forth negotiation, whether we were going to take a 1% across the board cut, i think it ended up he negotiated low, i was negotiating high. we ended up at 8.7 but at least we got it done. by holding the line on spending and having what revenue we had, holding the line on spending, we were able to spend down $650 billion of public debt in the first four years i was speaker. >> if you were able to hold the line on spending limits, then why would you go ahead to oversee two unfunded wars?
>> look it, the wars happened. i don't know if you were around at 9/11 when we lost 3,000 people, but we ended up in afghanistan, we also ended up in iraq. we can go back, history will tell us whether we should have been in iraq but at the time, we thought that was the right decision. we are not going to expose this country to that type of threat. we haven't had it since then. >> sir, our first read team is saying the good news is that both sides are still talking and more importantly, neither side is publicly trashing the specifics of either proposal but as we mentioned, the standoff is taking a toll on boehner's approval rating, particularly. drawing on your own experience and reading up on you, the public opinion on you was that your leadership style was conciliatory. but you were able to get things done. does public opinion matter for the opinion of the 26 republicans that he needs currently in the house to approve any deal?
>> well, the thing is, i spent probably most of my time, i don't want to put a percentage on it, bringing people around the table together. and you had to bring moderates and conservatives together, you had to bring democrats and republicans together. if you couldn't bring people together and find a middle road that they could agree on, you didn't get anything done. you know, i'm sure that's what mr. boehner's trying to do right now. it's a difficult process. it's a 24 hour, seven day a week type of job. but you constantly had to find that middle and then build on it and get enough people to pass a piece of legislation. you have to have 218 votes in the house. what boehner has to be careful of is he doesn't have the majority of those 218 votes being from the other party. then all of a sudden, he loses his grasp on his party and that's the danger for a speaker. >> former house speaker dennis hastert, thanks for your time today. i appreciate it. police are still trying to figure out why a masked gunman opened fire in a crowded mall full of christmas shoppers,
killing two before taking his own life in portland. will this latest in a string of senseless mass shootings finally lead to a serious discussion on gun control in america? we will ask the president of the brady campaign straight ahead. plus, republican versus republican. up next, the union member leading the fight against michigan governor's controversial right to work law. then our big question to you, do right to work laws lower unemployment or lower workers' wages? ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills.
yesterday, where more than 10,000 protesters gathered as the house legislature passed that law. joining me is andy potter, vice president of the michigan corrections organization and chair of seiu's republican national advisory committee. good to have you here. because law makers in michigan attached a spending measure to the right to work bills, they can't be rescinded through a referendum but as politico is pointing out, labor unions are staging a counter attack on this. explain why right to work for people, that's supposed to be for the good of the people, would not therefore be put up for a right to be voted on by the people, and now seems entrenched in the fact that it can't go to a referendum. >> well, outside of the referendum, we are ramping up different kinds of opportunities. we are going to reach out to community partners and we are going to be continuing the conversation for two years until we can use the ballot system as well so that everything from
legal possibilities to outreach and out speaking, making sure our message gets heard. >> as we talk about the fact that this is happening in a blue state like michigan, the first of its kind, what do labor organizations like yours plan to do to reverse this in your own state and then keep it from happening in other blue states as we look at pennsylvania or ohio? >> well, you know, there's a lot of conversation being had right now by all the unions and everything's on the table, like i said. we're not going to commit to any one particular strategy, but there's many out there and we're going to take every opportunity we can to show just exactly how dirty rotten we think this was. and whether you're democrat or republican, you got to look at the way this was handled and you got to look at exactly how they performed, how the republican party and the governor's performed here lately. it should be an outrage to all michigan people.
>> i want to turn to the ramifications that come along with the right to work laws, because michigan is now the 24th state in the country to enact such union limiting laws. i want you to listen to what the governor said this morning, governor snyder, on "morning joe" just a few hours after the power of the unions. >> if you go to the last century, people flocked to join the unions because they saw value in that. fast forward to today, shouldn't unions still have to present a value proposition? and if they do, people will join. people will want to be part of a union and if they don't provide value, people shouldn't be forced to pay for something they don't see any value in. >> the value proposition. andy, as a republican, how do you respond to that comment, especially in a state where 17% of workers are in unions? why are unions so important to you? what is the value proposition? >> well, the value proposition is this. when you go into bargaining or negotiating a contract or
anything like that, there is always conversation. when michigan is in hard times like it has been and the governor knows this, we do compromise on some things and we do work with them and we do meet with them at the table and try to come up with something that works for both sides. that weakens us the more -- the more our revenue in the unions are gone and missing, the more that's going to prevent us from being able to negotiate with any kind of leverage whatsoever. they know this and that's what they're counting on. they're counting on using the words like freedom and other things to get people on board with this, and after yesterday's demonstration, i think the clear message was that people do not like this, it's divisive, they know this, it's to weaken the unions, weaken the leverage the unions have to create a safe work environment, and it's all a lot of millions of dollars they're bringing into our states and it's not creating any jobs.
it's to rip down the middle class and take the american dream away. >> the governor has signed this into law but there are still demonstrations that are planned in your state. how long do you think you can hold up the public outcry? >> well, i along with a lot of republican friends and family i have are going to continue this conversation for two more years, until we can take a good look at the ballot system and we're going to use that and we're going to take back the republican party. this isn't the republican party i grew up with. since when is it a good thing to attack the middle class, attack labor and to bring michigan divided like he has? since when is that good and free and fair for everybody? it's not. >> andy potter, vice president of the michigan corrections organization and chair of the republican national advisory committee of seiu, thank you. i appreciate it. i was born with a glass half
full. i remain the most optimistic person in this town, but we've got some serious differences. >> serious differences despite the threat to the economy, there's still no deal in washington. both sides trading accusations about who would get hurt by the other side's proposals. who's telling the truth? we're fact-checking the fiscal cliff coming up. plus, george takei gained fame on "star trek." now he's using his celebrity to call attention to marriage equality. he joins me later this hour.
we're just learning about the gun used in that deadly mall shooting yesterday outside of portland, oregon. high caliber semiautomatic rifle. another shooting and still, no discussion about gun control. when is the right time? the president of the brady campaign joins me next. ♪ [ male announcer ] a european-inspired suspension, but it's not from germany. ♪
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babies were crying. it was unreal. >> he's sitting there pointing the gun at some people so we ran to the fitting rooms, grabbed the people, then ran out the back exit to get out of there. >> witnesses describing the chaos and absolute horror that took place in a crowded portland, oregon mall yesterday afternoon when a gunman walked in there masked, opening fire on a crowd estimated at roughly 10,000 holiday shoppers. this happened in a portland suburb of clackamas, oregon, at the town center mall. authorities say the gunman apparently armed with a semiautomatic rifle killed two people and seriously wounded another before taking his own life. so far, he hasn't been identified but the sheriff says he did not appear to be targeting anyone in particular. >> it really looked as though it was a random shooting, really anybody that was in his line of sight, basically. it was very apparent that he had a mission set forth to really
take the lives of people within that mall. >> this is all raising a lot of questions, the issue of gun control in this country and joining me now live is dan gross, president of both the brady campaign to prevent gun violence and its sister organization, the brady center to prevent gun violence. dan, good to have you here. as we learn more details specifically about what took place in this latest incident less than 24 hours ago, the law enforcement officials telling nbc news the weapon used at the town center mall in portland was a 223 caliber semiautomatic rifle similar to that of an ar-15. it had a high capacity magazine and it seems that time after time when we're talking about these situations, that semiautomatic rifles are involved in shooting rampages like this one. when we think back to not that long ago to aurora, colorado, and also gabbi giffords in january 2011. then we had the domestic gun violence situation with the football player, jovan belcher, just a couple weeks ago.
why can't we get the weapons specifically like what's being described that was used in this incident most recently in portland off the streets? >> yeah. you know, it's a good question. it's a good conversation and it's a conversation that the american public wants to have. the american public, we know that as a nation, we are better than this and we don't want to live in a country that has shootings in malls and movie theaters and places of worship but we also don't want to live in a country where there are 32 murders every day and whether you hunt, whether you believe in the second amendment, nobody wants to live in that kind of country. we just need to reframe this whole conversation and have it in the context of what can we do to prevent all the tragedies that happen, taking assault weapons off the street is clearly an important conversation to have. but so is the fact that 40% of all gun sales in our country don't have background checks. so people that are convicted
felons, convicted domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill and god forbid terrorists are able to get guns without any background check. this is the kind of thing, these are solutions that the overwhelming majority of americans support because, you know, we know as a country we're better than this. it's why we've started this campaign, this website, we are better than this.org, for the american public to really make its voice heard on this issue. because it's very clear until we do, our elected officials are unlikely to take action. >> let's talk about the elected officials on this, because prior to this shooting and the news of it happening, senator lindsey graham was on cnn talking about how he owns eight guns. take a listen. >> why should my constitutional right be limited because you don't understand why i want eight guns? >> why do you want eight guns? >> because i enjoy shooting. i hunt. it's something my dad and i did together in the south as part of growing up. if my individual rights under
the constitution are limited by the sensibility of others, i don't have a whole lot of rights. >> so when we talk about the rights of gun ownership, second amendment rights in this country, the conversation is more about these assault weapons, these high capacity magazine clips that probably the senator doesn't need to go hunting deer or rabbit or whatever he's trying to track down there in south carolina, or anybody else, for that matter. so when we talk about the fact that elected leaders need to get a better understanding of this, even after having one almost assassinated in january of 2011 on a congress on your corner event at the local supermarket, if that's not going to get anybody's attention in washington, d.c., what is? >> the american people are going to get our elected officials' and our leaders' attention. i'm so glad you played that clip, because i watched it and it just made me nuts, as it made anybody who is educated on this
issue, because it's based on this flawed assumption that any conversation about what we can do from a policy perspective is infringement on second amendment rights. listen, the second amendment has been decided. it's been decided in the heller case. there is a right to own guns in our country and we need to respect that. the fact is, there are things we can do with a deep inherent respect for the second amendment and lindsey graham's love of hunting and love of shooting and his belief in the second amendment to save lives and prevent tragedies and just to cut off that conversation just in the name of, you know, it's an infringement on my rights, it's irresponsible leadership, actually. you know, there are things that we can do to prevent many of the 32 gun murders that happen every day without doing anything contradictory to the second amendment. the american public wants to have that conversation. this is a frank luntz poll, 74%
of nra members support criminal background checks. because nra members like average americans realize that that has nothing to do with the right of a law-abiding citizen to responsibly own a gun. these are the terms on which we have to have this conversation. and we need to hold people like lindsey graham accountable for making statements like that, that automatically equate any sensible conversation in our country about gun laws with second amendment rights because that's not an accurate portrayal of the conversation. >> dan gross, president of the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, great to have you on. thank you, sir. >> thank you. we go back to the fiscal cliff and the president's call for higher tax rates for the wealthy. republicans fighting those hikes, say that one of the victims would be america's small businesses. >> people need to call him and ask him the question are you also talking about the small business folks. >> if you look at what he's doing, as jon kyl mentioned, raising taxes on small businesses -- >> so we hear that all the time, small business, small business.
but would the president's plan really take a dent out of what we think of as mom and pop shops? joining me now is glenn kesler of the "washington post" fact check. great to have you here. speaker boehner made a similar claim about small businesses recently and you guys gave him criticism on this. how many mom and pop shops could see higher taxes under the president's plan? >> it's not really a lot. in terms of -- part of the problem is the way people manipulate the data but it's only about depending how you look at it, 3% to 7% of small businesses, people would think of as small businesses, are actually -- would actually be affected by the president's plan to raise tax rates on people making more than $250,000 a year. >> let's tackle the other part of the cliff here, about republicans like senator lindsey graham say without entitlement reform, we would see this trifecta of bankruptcy and we speak of the trifecta being medicare, medicaid and social security.
let's start with medicare. you found that only one part of medicare's four-part program could really be in trouble and that's part a, correct? >> right. right. that's because that is paid through a trust fund which is running short in the coming years. however, it has been running short repeatedly ever since it was founded, set up in 1970. so it could often be fixed by tweaks. the other parts of medicare are actually paid through general revenues. >> when we talk about the fact checking on social security, the claims about bankruptcy and everybody being worried that it's not going to be there for them when they achieve the proper age to receive social security, republicans have cited articles out of the "washington post," one like this saying the program is running out of money, but does that mean that it's in danger of bankruptcy? >> right. bankruptcy is a very defined term. what they're talking about and reporters are as guilty of this as anyone, is that the trust
funds can be running low which means they would not be able to pay 100% of promised benefits. doesn't mean they run out of money. so even by 2050, if you did nothing for social security, it would be paying 79% of promised benefits. it's not going to get to that point. congress will fix it. people will fix it. but it really doesn't go quote, unquote, bankrupt. >> so earned benefits just get adjusted for the amount of people that trying to dip into it. >> right. well, in the case of social security, it's a reasonably simple tweak in terms of either you adjust the retirement age or adjust the amount of income that is subject to the payroll tax. you do things like that and you then end up with it being solvent for 75 years. >> glenn, thank you. i appreciate it. coming up next, taking on donald trump on marriage equality. "star trek" actor george takei joins me. and our big question, do right to work laws lower unemployment
social security are just numbers in a budget. well, we worked hard for those benefits. we earned them. and if washington tries to cram decisions about the future... of these programs into a last minute budget deal... we'll all pay the price. aarp is fighting to protect seniors with responsible... solutions that strengthen medicare and...
social security for generations to come. we can do better than a last minute deal... that would hurt all of us. while most republicans on capitol hill remain silent over the supreme court's recent decision to take up cases of marriage equality, it does not mean that there hasn't been surprising signs of progress from other conservative voices. donald trump, one of the most outspoken and politically motivated celebs of his era, angered lgbt activists earlier this year when he said he didn't support gay marriage or civil union, saying quote, i'm a traditionalist. i have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay but i am a traditionalist. since then he seems to have evolved a bit all thanks to a lunch date with a swash-buckling actor of "star trek" fame. ♪
>> all right. joining me now live from los angeles is actor, author and lgbt activist, the one and only george takei. it is great to have you with us today. we dive right in, because i want to get your take on this. you sat down to lunch with donald trump to talk about his opinions about marriage equality. you know him from your time and becoming friendly with him from "celebrity apprentice." you described this lunch as lively and engaging. what exactly did you talk about that got him to evolve and take a different stance about marriage equality? >> well, we had marriage equality on the agenda and so immediately, he reported to me that he recently attended what he called a gay wedding. i said well, it was a wedding,
wasn't it? gay wedding sounds too exotic, sounds like you need a champagne fountain with liza minnelli singing on top of it. we laughed about it. but i do think that he is evolving. both his children, donald and ii ivanka, are supporters of marriage equality. although he was not forthcoming enough to say he supports marriage equality, he said everything that's led me to think that he is evolving. donald is a very savvy businessman. new york has marriage equality now. it's good for business and i am reasonably confident that he will, like the president, have evolved and make -- >> he can recognize the handwriting is on the wall. at princeton on monday, justice scalia was answering questions about his legal writings and
told an openly gay student if we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder, can we have it against other things. as we know, you married your long-time partner, brad altman, who we understood just took your last name. as a married man now, how do you feel knowing that a supreme court justice who will hear these cases regarding prop 8 for california, where you live, and also for doma, which involves the entire country, would speak so publicly and equate homosexuality to murder? >> well, it seems to me if justice kagan can recuse herself from the boston case, justice scalia needs to consider recusing himself. he is obviously not unbiased. he is clearly biased in this situation. so how can he look at the issue and make a judgment fairly? i really do think first of all, that statement was a repugnant
statement to equate homosexuality with murder. any justice who has so little thought before he speaks should not be participating in the ruling on the cases involving doma or proposition 8. >> george, one thing we know -- >> i'm not a lawyer. >> but you are quite the social media guru. you might not be a lawyer but you mastermind twitter and facebook. you tweet a lot of things. this one caught me by surprise that i really loved. i want to get it up there for everybody. so the name of the judge performing midnight wedding services for same sex couples in washington, mary yu. the judge was named mary yu that got the honors to perform those services which i think is just awesome and fascinating. there she is. but what do you think about the approach you have been able to have and the influence you have been able to have as a man in his 70s now but using social media to reach a whole new audience? >> well, it actually started
with the idea of getting the word out on the musical that's broadway bound which played at the old gold theater in san diego and broke all records on the interment of japanese americans and it grew and grew. i had no idea of that kind of amazing power. as you say, i'm 75 years old and this is boldly going to an arena i never thought i would be going into. >> george, you're doing a great job. can i just get you to say oh, my for everybody? >> oh, my. that's the title of my new book, "oh, my." there goes the internet. >> we are going to get you back on about that book. george takei, author, activist, thank you so much. congratulations again to you and brad. you're really blazing a trail for all people in this country. we appreciate it. >> thank you very much. good talking with you.
the fact is, she not only gave wrong information, but she gave the party line that, for example, that al qaeda is decimated. al qaeda is not decimated. that our embassies and consulates are secure. they are not secure. so everybody, we're all responsible for what we say, so we'll go through the process if she is nominated and we'll see. >> one of the biggest and most vocal critics of ambassador susan rice, republican senator john mccain of arizona is angling for a seat on the senate foreign relations committee. that means if rice is nominated by the president, excuse me, by the president to be his next secretary of state, john mccain will be in a front row seat to turn up the heat on her confirmation hearings, not that
he hasn't been doing that already. jimmy williams is here with more on why it matters. jimmy, when it does come to susan rice, why is john mccain going after her so forcefully, basically giving a pass to secretary of state hillary clinton, but going after rice. >> it's interesting, because that is the committee of jurisdiction. any nomination will be sent to the committee for an up or down vote. with jim demint resigning, there's an opening on the committee and john mccain wants it. he's already lost his ranking membership on the commerce committee, so what's john mccain, the elder statesman supposed to do, be the most junior freshman of the foreign relations committee that he's going to try to stop any nomination brought to the hill for secretary of state. it's a very interesting move on his part. >> meanwhile, there's been grand speculation of whether or not this nomination will rise up and go forward.
republicans have certainly been forcefully trying to stomp that down and even promote john kerry to that role, but does the president get backed into the corner by the fact republicans have been so opposed by this, does he need to nominate rice to make a statement? >> he needs to have his moment and needs to say like he did in his first presser after the election, i'm the president of the united states, and this is my nomination. the senate, of course, is an equal body and have the right to say yes or no, but bottom line, the president can put up whoever he wants. he is kind of in a box. even if he weren't considering rice, now if he doesn't nominate rice for secretary of state, it looks like the republicans drew blood, and that's a bad thing. but the bottom line, president needs to be forceful on this and really needs to think about who his other nominees are going to be. for example, this weekend in the "new york times," michael scheer wrote about the diversity amongst cabinet nominees. that's a fabulous piece of
journalism, because think about it, what if instead he nominated her to be the head of the cia, they can raise our kids, why can't they raise our nation's intelligence? >> you bring up a great piece basically already saying there's been diversity. all the secretaries of state since bill clinton have either been women, minorities, or both, warren christopher being the last male secretary of state in 1997. does the president have an opportunity to break new ground? >> i think he could. you know, i think he could appoint, and listen, he can put a gay man in the cabinet, fred hoffburg, openly gay man in the interior department where there's rumor about that. he could put a woman in the cia. that would be a huge, huge deal. and the republicans, this is the party, by the way, that just has a gender gap of 20 points in the last election, a party that has a massive gap when it comes to african-americans and latinos.
if he all of a sudden puts a woman in and the old white men say no to something like that, that's really a problem for them. it's the party's problem, they have to get beyond this. >> msnbc contributor senate guru jimmy williams, great to see you, thank you, sir. that's going to wrap things up for me. thank you for your time today. joining me tomorrow, house minority whip stenny hoyer, clyburn, ted strickland, and my colleague, melissa harris-perry. don't go anywhere, alex wagner is coming up. what do you have coming up? >> hello, thomas, still in d.c. with another action-packed show. we'll have the latest on the slow, unfolding drama, emphasis on slow, that is the fiscal cliff negotiations. the white house and speaker boehner trade proposals and tension. we will discuss with house democratic whip steny hoyer, ezra klein, sam stein, jane
mayer, and jen zocki. plus, csi gop, as the republicans make the long slog to redemption, we discuss lessons learned. and the war on women rages on in the lone star state. we will look at planned parenthood's fight in texas. all that starts in a mere 180 seconds. ♪ [ male announcer ] we began serving handcrafted coffees in seattle, and people seemed to like it. so we wondered -- where else could we take this? ♪ for over 40 years, we've brought our passion for fine coffee and espresso to people everywhere. but one place was impossible, until now. our lattes, espresso and brewed coffee, now in your home from a machine like no other. and now $50 off through january 1st. the verismo® system, by starbucks.
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